Hiring Rebecca was, by far, the best decision my husband and I ever made regarding our wedding. Mike and I started the planning process on our own - we soon figured out that we didn't have nearly enough time or resources to do it all ourselves. And she was absolutely incredible!
We hired Rebecca about 8 months before the wedding. She helped us book any remaining vendors, finalize the overall aesthetic of the wedding, correspond with vendors, run errands, create and manage a budget, etc. we struggled with staying within budget and adhering to the timeline, and she was instrumental in helping us stay on track. For example, I was having a hard time finding an affordable florist who could provide the type of flowers I wanted, and I was running behind schedule. Rebecca did a ton of research, and found a talented new florist who gave us a very reasonable quote. On the day of the wedding, the flowers were stunningly beautiful and exactly what I was hoping for.
In terms of style, Rebecca presented many options while giving us a lot of space to think about what WE really wanted. She was constantly coming up with creative little touches, like unique packaging for the save-the-dates or innovative seating cards (miniature herb plants with names and table numbers written in calligraphy on popcicle sticks). Those little details helped make our wedding feel charming and personal - we certainly couldn't have come up with so many on our own.
On the day of the wedding, Rebecca and her assistant Miki oversaw every last detail. Mike and I were free to enjoy ourselves, and we had the most incredible time! Honestly, we got comment after comment from so many of our guests that it was the most beautiful, most unique, and most fun wedding they had ever been to. While I'd like to think Mike and I had a smidge to do with that, we both know that we have Rebecca to thank for the relative painlessness of the planning process and for the smashing success of the wedding itself.
Also, Rebecca is a DREAM to work with on a personal level. She is extraordinarily professional and timely, yet she made us feel so relaxed around her! She is warm and funny, and has impeccable taste. If I sound like I've been hired to do her PR, it's only because Mike and I can be pretty hard to please, and Rebecca went SO far above our expectations. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to anyone!
I was incredibly thrilled with Juniper's floral designs. She listened carefully to what I wanted, and offered her expertise when appropriate. Her prices were a LOT lower than many of the 'celebrity' florists in the Santa Barbara area, which made me a little nervous at first. I was so pleased with her results that I find her prices unusually low in retrospect.
Juniper worked extensively with our wedding planner (the world's greatest planner, Rebecca Stone of Duet Weddings!), which may explain her fabulous results. Highly recommended!
Los Angeles, CA 90063
Hooray for Project Wedding! It is thanks to this site that we were able to find the best wedding cake of all time. Mr. EastSide and I finally settled on Pasteleria 3 Leches after tasting expensive cake after expensive cake. They were all beautiful, but all had the same mediocre taste. 3 Leches, a neighborhood mexican bakery in East LA, is decidedly different. Delicious, unique, and cheap cheap cheap! (A 3 layer cake that fed 145, along with delivery, cost less than $350!) I worked with Aldo and his wife, Norma, a lot, because our cake needed to be delivered to Ventura, almost an hour away. Aldo helped us come up with the easiest, most cost effective solution.
Our guests raved about the cake. My personal trainer ate 3 slices!! Very few of our guests had ever heard of a tres leches cake, so it was quite the conversation piece.
We decided on a 3 layer, stacked cake. The bottom layer was pecan (nuez), the middle was regular tres leches, and the top was chocoflan. If you live anywhere near LA, I highly recommend stopping by Pasteleria 3 Leches for a tasting!
Tarzana, CA 91356
Lili's was the 2nd bridal shop I visited, and was the one that I purchased my dress from. I was very satisfied in the end, but the process was so painful that it almost wasn't worth it.
Maria was always very helpful and polite. My relationship with Sonia, the seamstress, was much more problematic.
Both Maria and Sonia insisted that I buy a size 12, even though I knew up and down that I would be losing at least 15 lbs. When my dress came in several months later, lo and behold, I was doing hula hoops with the size 12 it was so big. Sonia then charged me $350 for alterations, which seems like a lot, but I think is pretty standard. Anyway, when I came in for my 2nd fitting, the dress almost didn't zip! It was fine in the waist, but was far too tight though the chest and upper back. Worse, there was now a dreadful shelf of back fat that spilled over the top. I asked Sonia and Maria what they thought, and both insisted there was nothing to worry about and "no one would notice." I really couldn't stop thinking about the back of the dress, so I brought my mom with me early the following week to try the dress on again. My mom quietly and thoughtfully agreed that something needed to be done. Sonia became very defensive and angry, claiming that "nothing" could be done, and that the problem was with my body (!). At this point, I was feeling slightly hysterical. Sonia got really close to me and said, "No one will be looking this close - no one will notice!" I finally snapped and said, "Well, I have paid almost $3,000 already, and I will notice! I think I should feel good in my own dress!" The whole thing was just so unpleasant. Sonia agreed to make more adjustments for an additional fee of $150 (which she eventually waived). I wearily agreed, just wanting to get out of there.
The week of my wedding, I came in for the final fitting. The dress was perfect. Sonia created a soft V in the back, which mitigated all the aforementioned problems. Sonia was very pleased with the results. She stated that the dress should have been designed this way in the first place, and that all women who buy that dress have a problem though the back. I'm just wondering why she didn't say so in the first place, saving me (and herself) a lot of turmoil.
All things being equal, I would probably not send a friend or family member to Lili for their gown.
Glendale, CA 91205
In all fairness, I only visited Karoza's once. I spoke to Roza on the phone - she was patient and cordial with me. Once I arrived, I was helped by a young woman, Marlena. She was very sweet at first, but the fact that I didn't want elaborate beading on my dress really seemed to annoy her. She seemed really tired, put out, and exasperated (she didn't even bother zipping or lacing the dress in most cases).
Prices seemed on the high side of normal, with some room for negotiation (Marlena recommended I ask Roza for a discount). If you are looking for a lot of intricate, ornate gowns, and don't need too much in the way of personal service with a smile, Karoza may just be the bridal shop for you.